the little prince

When I saw the charming movie preview of The Little Prince adaptation, I knew it was time to add it to the reading list. Plus, I had been meaning to read The Little Prince for years and years. It’s a classic, and besides my friend called it her favourite book. I figured it would rise up there.

There was no need to rush into it. Among a rash of great summer reading, this was perhaps the biggest disappointment.

The Little Prince was published in 1943. The creation of a French aristocrat, writer, poet, and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery, it would become his most famous work in any field as the fourth most translated book in the world and one of the world’s best selling books of all time, seemingly always making an appearance on the Best Books lists. He did not live long enogh to see any of that though, as he died within the year at age 44.

Perhaps I had waited too long, had too much expectation. And with the cute illustrations I had seen emblazoned on tee-shirts my whole life, well. But the brief book (aka novella), if it can be called anything is preachy, and maybe too simple. I also had this feeling whilst reading it that there was a level I was not aware of, like a political one (or maybe just a second-level story. I kept thinking maybe the author was the man who crashed into a desert, but of depression, and met a “boy” who it turns out has a terminal illness, so symbolises his own morality? But when I looked up some analyses of it, it all seemed more straight forward than that.

It had great quotes, and great moments, and the writing was really nice. But the overall plot got to me and I don’t mean that in a good way. There was a plot, a story, although not told in the conventional way. The story made it both interesting and distractedly short and over simplified. But it was also just really odd. Full of odd pairs and glaringly allegorical characters. I just cold never stop snickering. The illustrations were endearing. But somehow I still wanted to re-draw every one of them.

In the end, and in complete opposition to the majority of the literary world, this book had too many “buts” for me to sat that I enjoyed it or would ever read it again.

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